Sacred Texts  Tantra  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Hymns to the Goddess, by John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon), [1913], at

p. 117





May that Devī by whose power this world was spread,
The perfect form of the powers of countless Devas, 2
The Mother 3 worshipped by Devas and Mahaṛṣis, 4
Do good to us.


May that Caṇḍikā whose peerless majesty and power
Neither Bhagavān Ananta, 5 Brahmā, nor Hara 6 can declare,
Turn Herself towards us for the destruction of the fear of evil,
And the protection of the whole world.

p. 118


We bow to Her who is good fortune itself in the dwellings of the virtuous,
Ill-fortune in those of the sinful,
Reason 1 in the hearts of the intelligent, faith in those of the good,
Modesty in that of the high born.
Protect, O Devī! this universe.


How can we describe Thy thought-transcending form,
Or, Thy greatly abounding strength which destroyed the Asuras, 2
Or, O Devī! those great deeds of Thine
Done in battle midst hosts of Devas, Asuras, and others?


Thou art the cause of all the worlds,
Though Thy substance is the three guṇas3
Yet is no fault known in thee. 4
Incomprehensible art Thou even to Hari, Hara, 5 and other Devas, 6

p. 119

Thou art the refuge of all.
The whole world is but a part of Thee, 1
Unmanifested, 2 primeval, supreme Prakṛti. 3


O Devī! Thou art Svāhā4
By the utterance whereof all Devas in all sacrifices are satisfied.
Thou art also declared by men to be Svadhā4
Which satisfies the pitṛs 5.


Thou, O Devī! whose great vrata 6 surpasses all thought,
Art the supreme knowledge full of power
Which is the cause of liberation
Ever sought to be gained by those Munis 7 desirous thereof,
Who have strictly controlled their senses and are free of all faults. 8

p. 120


Thou art in the form of sound.
The repository of spotless 1 Ṛg 2 and Yajus 2 hymns,
And of the Sāman 2 hymns wherein are the verses of the charmful Udgītha3
Devī, Thou art the threefold Veda 4 and Bhagavatī; 5
For the maintenance of the world Thou art the science of Vartta6
Thou art the supreme destroyer of its pains. 7


O Devī! Thou art the power of understanding 8
By Which the essence of all Śāstras is known;
Thou art Durgā, 9 the vessel wherein we cross the dangerous ocean of the world.
Devoid of attachment art Thou. 10
Śrī 11 also, who hast made Thy abode in the heart of the enemy 12 of Kaiṭabha, 13

p. 121

Thou art indeed Gaurī, 1 who hast fixed Thy dwelling in the moon-crested Deva. 2


Smiling spotless like unto the full moon,
Resplendent as the finest gold
And lovely was thy face.
Yet wonderful it was that swayed by wrath
The Asura Mahiṣa suddenly smote Thy face when he saw it.


Greatly marvellous indeed it was that when he had seen Thy face,
Wrathful, terribly frowning, beauteous as the rising moon,
Mahiṣa did not forthwith yield up his life,
For who can live after beholding the wrathful king of Death? 3


O Devī, our supreme Lady
Be gracious for the sake of the world.
For when wrathful Thou dost suddenly destroy the generations of the enemies. 4
It is but now made known to us
That the mighty army of the Asura Mahiṣa has met its end.


Those to whom Thou, O bestower of prosperity! art gracious,

p. 122

Are esteemed in all lands,
Their wealth and fame increases,
And their dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa 1 know no lessening.
Praiseworthy are they maintaining sons, servants, and wives.


By thy grace, O Devī! the virtuous man, ever honoured,
Does ever daily all religious acts,
And thereafter gains heaven by Thy grace; 2
Therefore art Thou of a surety the giver of fruit in the three worlds.


O Durgā; the remembrance of Thee destroyest the fear of all creatures,
When called to recollection by those in health Thou dost bestow a truly good mind.
O remover of poverty, pain, and fear,
Who but Thee art ever compassionate for the good of all.


By the slaying of these foes the world gains happiness.
O Devī! Thou hast slain them with the desire
That they should not always sin so as to merit hell, 3
But that by death in battle they may go to Heaven.

p. 123


Seeing them, why dost Thou not (by Thy look) turn them to ashes?
Thou throwest Thy weapon among the enemies, the Asuras,
In order that, being purified by it,
Even these enemies may go to heaven.
Such is Thy merciful intention even towards them.


If by the glittering, formidable flashes of Thy sword,
And by the lustre of Thy spear-point,
The eyes of the Asuras were not destroyed,
It was because they gazed on Thy countenance,
Like unto the radiant moon.


O Devī! Thy nature it is to subdue the evil works of the wicked.
Thy form, destructive of the strength of those who destroy the Devas,
Surpasses all thought, and is comparable with none.
By this Thou hast manifested Thy kindness even to enemies.


Devī! with whom may this Thy valour be compared,
Or Thy most charming form striking fear among foes?
In Thee only, bestower of boons, even upon three worlds,

p. 124

Are seen both kindness of heart and relentlessness in battle.


By the destruction of their foes the three worlds have been saved by Thee,
Thou hast led even these to heaven,
Having slain them in the front of battle.
And hast dispelled the fear besetting us from the maddened enemies of the Devas.
Salutation to Thee, O Devī!


With Thy spear protect us, O Devī! 1
O Mother! protect us with Thy sword.
By the sound of Thy bell guard us,
And by the twanging of Thy bow-string
Protect us in the East and in the West,
Guard us, O Caṇḍikā! in the South,
And in the North by the brandishing of Thy spear.


Whatever gentle forms of Thine,
And whatever of Thy terrible forms Wander in the three worlds,
By these forms protect us and the earth.


O Mother! by Thy sword, spear, and club,

p. 125

And other weapons, in Thy soft and supple hands, 1
Guard us on every side. 2


117:1 When the enemies of the Devas were vanquished by the Goddess, Shakra and the other Devas, bowing down before Her, their hair "erect with exultation," thus sang Her praises.

117:2 Her form was that of their combined powers.

117:3 Ambika.

117:4 Great Ṛṣis or Seers.

117:5 Viṣṇu.

117:6 Śiva, for they, too, adore Her.

118:1 Buddhi.

118:2 Enemies of the Devas.

118:3 Sattva, Tamas, Rajas. Nature as spirit, as the veil of spirit, and of descent and ascent from spirit to matter and matter to spirit (see Introduction to Tantra Śāstra).

118:4 Ordinarily, the world which consists of the guṇas is imperfect, but She who is it and yet transcends it, is perfect.

118:5 Viṣṇu and Śiva.

118:6 As the Viṣṇu Yāmala cited in the Śāktānandataranginī, says (Māstvatparamam rūpam tanna jānāti kashchana, chap. iii.) "Her supreme form is that which none know."

119:1 Not as it has been rendered, "Thou art the entire world which is composed of parts"--the world is but a part of Her. Hindu belief is not pantheistic in the ordinary European sense of the word.

119:2 Avyākrita, of which Nagoji Bhatta says: Ṣadvidha vikārarahitatvāt, on account of its being void of the six forms of change.

119:3 Of whom the Śāktānandataranginī says: "Pranamya prakritim nityām paramātma svarūpinīm" (chap. i.).

119:4 The Mantra of that name.

119:5 The lunar ancestors of the human race and the earthly ancestors of the seventh degree, to whom offering is made in pitṛkriyā.

119:6 Vow or voluntary rite(see Introduction to Tantra Śāstra).

119:7 Sages.

119:8 This passage has been rendered: "Thou studiest with Thy organs, which are the essence of strength well restrained." But the Devī does not study, nor has She organs restrained or otherwise.

120:1 Because they were breathed out by Īśvara.

120:2 Of the Vedas so named.

120:3 Part of the Sāmaveda, the office of the Udgātri.

120:4 See p. 33, note 3.

120:5 For She has all powers.

120:6 i.e., agriculture, cattle-rearing, and trading.

120:7 As the Lalitā Sahasranāma says, "She soothes like moonlight all those who are burnt by the triple fires of misery" (tāpatraya) of phenomenal existence.

120:8 Medhā, which Gopal Chakravarti says = Dhāranāvati buddhi.

120:9 Nagoji says: "Duhkhaprāpyatvena durgāsi iti uchyate" (to be attained to with great difficulty).

120:10 Asangā-nirlepā (G. C.) cidānandamayitvāt (on account of Her being cit and ānanda).

120:11 Lakṣmī.

120:12 Viṣṇu.

120:13 The Daitya brother of Madhu.

121:1 Daughter of guru, the Lord of the Mountains.

121:2 Śiva, who bears on His head the crescent moon.

121:3 Yama.

121:4 That is, the Daityas.

122:1 The four aims of being.

122:2 Nagoji Bhatta says tatah here means that after that (svarga), and in order of time they gain mokṣa (liberation).

122:3 Not "Let these practise sin so as to descend to Hell for long." as it has been rendered. The Devī's desire is to save even Her foes. The translation of the alternative reading given by the translation referred to is nearer the sense of the text.

124:1 Here follows the prārthaitā (prayer).

125:1 Literally, leaflike (pallava), soft, and supple.

125:2 The Ṛṣi in Caṇḍī continued: Thus was the upholder of the world hymned by the Devas who did worship Her with celestial flowers, perfumes, unguents, and incense upon which the Devī, highly honoured with this hymn, said to the Devas: "Choose what ye desire of me". On which the latter prayed that whenever they called upon Her She might come to their assistance, and that whatever mortal should praise Her with this hymn should prosper. Bhadrakāli said, "Be it so," and vanished from their sight.

Next: Mahādevī (from the Fifth Mahātmya of Caṇḍī)